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plication; but not worse than avdois ε avdpoç, used by Symmachus for the same purpose. Much in the same taste are Luther's mænnin, the homasse of the Geneva French, and the huoma of Diodati's Italian.



I SHALL now proceed to the third general class of words not capable of being translated, with exactness, into the language of a people whose customs are not in a great measure conformable to the customs of those amongst whom such words have arisen. This class comprehends names relating to dress, peculiar modes, judicatories, and offices. In regard to garments, it is well known that the usages of the ancients, particularly the orientals, differed considerably from those of modern Europeans. And though I am by no means of opinion, that it is necessary in a translation to convey an idea of the exact form of their dress, when nothing in the piece translated appears to depend on that circumstance, I am ever for avoiding that which would positively convey a false notion in this or any other respect. Often, from that which may be thought a trivial deviation from truth, there will result inconveniences of which one at first is not aware, but which, nevertheless, may produce in the mind of the attentive reader, unacquainted with the original, objections that affect the credibility of the narration. A general name, therefore, like clothes, raiment, is sufficient when nothing depends on the form, in like manner as a piece of money, a corn measure, will answer, when no light for understanding the scope of the place can be derived from the value of the one, or the capacity of the other. Where some distinction, however, seems to have been intended in the passage, there is a necessity for using names more definitive. It is not often necessary, for naming the parts of dress, to retain the terms of a dead language. The English translators have never done it, as far as I remember, except in naming that part of the sacerdotal vestments called the ephod, for which it would be impossible to find an apposite term in any European tongue. Phylacteries, too, will perhaps be accounted an exception.

2. But, though it is rarely necessary to adopt the ancient or foreign names of garments, it may not be always proper to employ those terms for expressing them which are appropriated to particular pieces of the modern European habit. The word coat answers well enough as a name for the under garment, in Greek XiTWV. Cloak, by which our translators in the New Testament commonly render iuariov, the name for the upper garment, I do not so much approve. My reasons are these: First, cloak is not the term that they have used in the Old Testament for


that vestment; though we have no reason to believe that there was any change in the Jewish fashions in this particular. It is well known, that the modes respecting dress are not, nor ever were in Asia, as at present they are in Europe, variable and fluctuating. The orientals are as remarkable for constancy in this particular, as we are for the contrary. Now, though the Hebrew words answering to iuariov are frequent in the Old Testament, and the Greek word itself in the translation of the Seventy, the word cloak has never been admitted by our translators into the version of the Old Testament except once, in Isa. lix. 17, where it is used only as a simile. Wherever they have thought proper to distinguish the upper garment from that worn close to the body, they have named it the mantle. See the places marked in the margin. But these are not all the places in which the original word might have been so rendered. Sometimes, indeed, it means garments in general, and in the plural especially, signifies clothes. Now, though the difference of a name employed in the version of the Old Testament, may be thought too slight a circumstance for founding an argument upon in regard to the manner of translating the New, I cannot help thinking, that, even if the words mantle and cloak were equally proper, we ought not, by an unnecessary change, without any reason, to give ground to imagine, that there had been in this article any alteration in the Jewish customs.

Secondly, I am the more averse to introduce in the New Testament a change of the name that had been used in the Old, as it is evident that in Judea they placed some share of religion in retaining their ancient garb. They did not think themselves at liberty to depart from the customs of their ancestors in this point. As their law had regulated some particulars in relation to their habit, they looked upon the form as intended for distinguishing them from the heathen, and consequently as sacred; Numb. xv. 38, 39; Deut. xxii. 12: the knots of strings which they were appointed to put upon the four corners or wings, as they called them, did not suit any other form of outer garment than that to which they had been always accustomed.

Thirdly, The word mantle comes nearer a just representation of the loose vesture worn by the Hebrews, than cloak, or any other term, which refers us to something particular in the make; whereas their iuariov was an oblong piece of cloth, square at the corners, in shape resembling more the plaid of a Scotch Highlander than either the Greek pallium or the Roman toga. This mantle it would appear, on ordinary occasions, they threw loosely about them; and, when employed in any sort of work in which it might encumber them, laid aside altogether. To this, doubtless, our Lord refers in that expression, "Let not him who shall

Judges iv. 18; 1 Sam. xxviii. 14; 1 Kings xix. 13, 19; 2 Kings ii, 8, 13; Ezra ix. 3, 5; Job i. 20; ii. 12; Psal. cix. 29.

be in the field return home to fetch his mantle," Mark xiii. 16. When setting out on a journey, or entering on any business compatible with the use of this garment, they tucked it up with a girdle, that it might not incommode them. Hence the similitude of having their loins girt, to express alertness, and habitual preparation for the discharge of duty. I know not why those who have been so inclinable in some other articles to give a modern cast to the manners of those ancients, have not modernized them in this also, and transformed girding their loins, a very antique phrase, into buttoning their waistcoats. This freedom would not be so great as the reduction of their money and measures above considered. It would not even be greater than giving them candles for lamps, and making them sit at their meals instead of reclining on couches. In regard to this last mode, I propose to consider it immediately.

3. Of all their customs they were not so tenacious as of what regarded the form of their clothes. In things which were not conceived to be connected with religion, and about which neither the law nor tradition had made any regulation, they did not hesitate to conform themselves to the manners of those under whose power they had fallen. A remarkable instance of this appears in their adopting the mode of the Greeks and Romans, in lying on couches at their meals. In the Old Testament times, the practice of sitting on such occasions appears to have been universal. It is justly remarked by Philo,* that Joseph "made his brethren sit down according to their ages; for men were not then accustomed to lie on beds at entertainments." The words in the Septuagint are εκάθισαν εναντιον αυτου; in the English translation, they sat before him, Gen. xliii. 33; both literally from the Hebrew. In like manner, εKabiσav de payev aprov, they sat down to eat bread, chap. xxxvii. 25; and, exaltσev & λaos payεv Kaι TIEI, the people sat down to eat and drink, Exod. xxxii. 6. Solomon says, Prov. xxiii. 1, When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, Εαν καθισης δειπνειν επι τραπεζης δυναστου. But it were endless to enumerate all the examples. Suffice it to observe, that this is as uniformly employed to express the posture at table in the Old Testament, as avakλive, or some synonymous term, is employed for the same purpose in the New. The Hebrew word is equally unequivocal with the Greek. It is always a jashab, to sit, never shachab, or any other word that imports lying down.

Some indeed have contended, that this manner of eating was practised among the Jews before the captivity; and in support of this opinion have produced the passage in Samuel, where Saul is spoken of as eating on the bed, 1 Sam. xxviii. 23. But the passage, when examined, makes clearly against the opinion for which it has been quoted. The historian's expression is, sat upon the

* 'Εξης δε προστάξαντος κατα τας ηλικιας καθιζεσθαι, μηπου των ανθρώπων εν ταις συμποτίκαις συνουσίαις κατακλίσει χρωμένων. Lib. de Josepho.

bed. Nor is this, as in the New Testament, the style merely of modern translators; it is that of the original, as well as of all the ancient translations. The Septuagint says Ekatot, the Vulgate sedit. Houbigant is the only translator I know who (misled I suppose by the ordinary style of Latin authors) has said decubuit. The Hebrew word is a jashab, which never signifies to lie. Now, whether a man on a bed takes his repast sitting, after the European manner, with his feet on the floor, or after the Turkish, with his legs across under him, his posture differs totally from that of the ancient Greeks and Romans, who lay at their length.

The words of the prophet Amos have also been thought to favour the same opinion: "Wo to them that lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the stall, that chant to the sound of the viol," &c. Amos vi. 4, &c. Here the prophet upbraids the people with their sloth and luxury, specifying a few instances in their manner of living. But nothing is said that implies any other connexion among these instances, than that of their being the effects of the same cause, voluptuousness. We have no more reason to connect their eating the lambs and the calves with their lying stretched on beds of ivory, than we have to connect with this posture their chanting to the sound of the viol, and anointing themselves with ointments.


But in the Apochryphal writings, which are posterior in composition to those of the Old Testament, and probably posterior to the Macedonian conquests, though prior to the books of the New, we have the first indications of this change of posture. is said of Judith, (xii. 15,) in the common version, that "her maid laid soft skins on the ground for her over against Holofernes, that she might sit and eat upon them,” εις το έσθιειν κατακλιvoμevnv en avtov, literally, that she might eat lying upon them. νομενην Again, in Tobit, (ii. 1,) avɛɛσa тov payev, not " I sat," but I lay down to eat. Other examples might be given, which render it probable that this fashion was first introduced into Judea by the Greeks, before the Jews became acquainted with the Romans. A sure evidence this, that the Jews were not so obstinately tenacious of every national custom as some have represented them. It is very remarkable, that in our Saviour's time the change was so universal in Judea, that the very common people always conformed to it. The multitudes which our Lord twice fed in the desert, are by all the Evangelists represented as lying, not sitting, upon the ground. It is strange that our translators have here, by misinterpreting one word, as invariably exhibited them practising a custom which they had abandoned, as they had formerly, by the unwarranted and unnecessary change of a name, given ground to think that there was an alteration in their customs when there

was none.

4. I know it is commonly pleaded in excuse for such deviations.

from the original as that whereof I am now speaking, that the posture is a circumstance no way material to the right understanding of the passages wherein it is occasionally mentioned; that besides, to us moderns, there appears in the expressions lying down to eat, and laying themselves at table, from their repugnancy to our customs, an awkwardness which, so far from contributing to fix our minds on the principal scope of the author, would divert our attention from it. In answer to the first of these objections, I admit that it is sometimes, not always, as will soon be shown, of no consequence to the import of a passage, whether a mere circumstance, which is but occasionally mentioned, and on which the instruction conveyed in the story does not depend, be rightly apprehended or not. The two miracles of the loaves and fishes are to all valuable purposes the same, whether the people partook of their repast sitting or lying. The like may be said of the greater part of such narratives. For this reason I do not except against a general expression, as, placed themselves at table, where a literal version would be attended with the inconvenience of appearing unnatural; but I could never approve, for the sake of elegance or simplicity, a version which in effect misrepresents the original; or, in other words, from which one may fairly deduce inferences that are not conformable to fact. Concerning the other exception, I cannot help observing, that it is only because the expression lying at table is unusual, that it appears awkward. If the first translators of the Bible into English had thought fit, in this instance, to keep close to the original, the phrases would not now have sounded awkwardly. But it must be owned, that no translators enjoy at present equal advantages with those who had, in a manner, the forming of our language in regard to things sacred. Their versions, by being widely dispersed, would soon give a currency to the terms used in them, which there was then no contrary use to counterbalance. And this is the reason why many things which might have been better rendered then, cannot now so well be altered.

5. But to show that even such errors in translating, however trivial they may appear, are sometimes highly injurious to the sense, and render a plain story not only incredible but absurd, I must entreat the reader's attention to the following passage, as it runs in the common version: "One of the Pharisees desired Jesus that he would eat with him: and he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. And behold a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment," Luke vii. 36-38. Now a reader of any judgment will need to reflect

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